To keep valuables

I had the gift of a lifetime in 2002 in that I was able to take a year-long sabbatical and travel around the world. I visited 30 countries in 333 days on the Oneworld airline alliance pass. It was a life-altering journey offering up the best year of my life. I am writing, however, to inform ITN readers of a valuable lesson that I learned the hard way.

While on a stopover in London, I visited the big orange easyInternetCafé across from Victoria Station. I found a quiet corner cubicle and wedged my small day pack beneath my feet up against the wall in the corner. When finished with my correspondence, I reached for the bag. Much to my horror, my “safe corner” of the floor was empty! I had been “hooked”!

I learned from the bobbies on the beat that a group of adolescents had been vandalizing the café with a telescoping hook to rob people of their belongings left on the floor beneath them. Everything I had of value was now gone.

The travelers’ checks, cash, credit cards and jewelry have long been forgotten. However, there is one treasure that I lost that day that haunts me still: my leather-bound journal with a day-by-day account of four months’ travel through the continent of Africa and the Middle East. Each day that my memories fade, I realize how precious and priceless this documentation of impressions, sights, smells, tastes and friendships was that I lost.

To make matters worse, I had no identification in the journal. So even if it had been recovered, there would be no way my book of memories could have found its way back to me.

My lessons learned from this unfortunate event are twofold: 1) no matter how secure you think your valuables are, they are unsecured unless they are attached to your person and 2) always make sure you have your contact information permanently documented on anything of personal value in the oft chance that it is recovered.

Atlanta, GA